App review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2014
Star Walk Kids: Astronomy Game
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Star Walk Kids: Astronomy Game

Virtually step into the night sky with this stellar space resource

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Learning rating
Community rating
Based on 1 review
Privacy rating
Not yet rated Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
K–6
Subjects & Skills
Science, Critical Thinking, Character & SEL

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Pros: Fantastic tool for young stargazers is packed with kid-friendly graphics and content.

Cons: Provides no way for kids to assess learning.

Bottom Line: Interactive tool is an excellent resource for kids who are curious about space.

This tool is an exciting way to bring astronomy to life in the classroom. Have kids work in small groups to point the device toward the sky and explore all that appears on the screen. Discuss as a class the celestial bodies and the constellations kids see. Encourage them to look at the night sky at home and compare what they see to what they observed while using the app.   

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With its simple yet appealing layout, this app is easy to navigate. The main screen is a virtual planetarium, which is essentially a built-in gyroscope that, when the user's device is pointed toward the sky, matches a map on the screen to the stars seen from the user's location. Kids can tap a dial in the top-right corner to rotate the screen clockwise or counter-clockwise. A compass at the bottom-right corner helps kids find North, and a tappable icon in the top-left corner gives them access to facts about space. The menu includes four categories: Planets, Stars, Constellations, and Extra, which incudes information about Hubble and the International Space Station.

Star Walk Kids is an engaging, exploratory tool kids can use to learn about stars (including star patterns or constellations), planets, and spacecraft, like Hubble and the International Space Station. They can also use the virtual planetarium to view real-time locations of these objects in the sky, which encourages kids to freely explore outer space anywhere at any time. Several easily accessible animations and audio explanations teach kids facts about space. Some narrations are quite brief, but this seems appropriate given the target age of most users. An assessment or game would be a great way for kids to apply what they learn.

Overall Rating

Engagement

Kids will love stargazing through their devices. Watching the stars and planets appear on-screen is thrilling for budding astronomers. 

Pedagogy

Tool encourages free exploration through the use of the virtual planetarium, and kids can learn fun facts by watching animations and listening to brief explanations. 

Support

Lacks an information screen and tutorial, but it's pretty easy to figure out the features. 


Common Sense reviewer
Debbie Gorrell Educator

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Featured review by
Jess L. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Melvin E Sine School
Glendale, United States
Out of this world learning for young kids
I always have a couple of students who are fascinated by space, and this app really captivates them. It's a great teaching tool because space is relatively abstract for young learners.This app makes the stars seem more tangible when it maps out constellations on a handheld device. The animations/simulations help students understand the complexities of space in terms that are appropriate for younger ages. Additionally, this app provides opportunities to construct some of their own knowledge as they explo ...
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